Are all the lights coming down? The vacuum cleaner has that familiar smell of burning pine needles. The strings of lights are getting looped up with 'care'--because I care if they're broken and tangled next year!
Our church feels the same way. We hosted three times the normal crowd. The call for volunteers produced a bunch of new faces leaning in. The tone across the board was happy, cheerful, joyful...warm! We had something to celebrate. Christ is born!
We had a great time!
But why not carry that same mood all year long? Church always has something to celebrate. God is with us. Not just on December 24th. All the time. Here are six ideas to keep Christmas going.
1. See the celebration. Why did you see something worth celebrating on December 24th but you don't see it now? Every Sunday is a celebratory gathering. Hold on to that mood.
2. Host others. Boy did it feel good to have every eye aware of the guest. How great it felt to see strange faces in familiar seats. How empowering it was to finally feel like this is 'my church' and I'm the host. Don't let go of that. That can be your attitude every week.
3. Lift the Name. The name of Jesus is at the center of Christmas. No holding back. The name of Jesus is at the center of all we do as church. Lift his name just as passionately all year long.
4. Sing with joy. When it comes to singing "Joy to the World" nobody holds back. When it is time for "Silent Night" even the most reluctant voice quietly hums along. Don't stop singing in January. Sing it out with joy.
5. Invite with gladness. You had an invitation to give for Christmas Eve. You knew your church was going to shine. You knew the music would be top notch. You knew the sermon would rock. If the whole church is willing to lean in, you can keep inviting like that all year. Something is going to happen on Sunday morning. Something that might touch your spirit, might help your child, might touch your husband. Something is going to happen in worship on Sunday to change your soul. It's worth an invite.
6. Make it an experience. Leaders, remember how much people experienced on Christmas Eve. The whole church communicated one theme. The visuals, the songs, the messaging, it all lifted a singular big idea--Jesus is born. They lifted candles and felt the warmth, smelled the wax burning, and saw the glow on each other's faces. It was more than a song and a talk. It was an experience of the holy, a walk through something beautiful. That can happen every Sunday.
Don't give up on what you saw two weeks ago. Let's keep Christmas all year long. Your church can bear witness to the presence of God with celebration all year long.